On Sunday I preached a sermon from Matthew 2:13-23 entitled “Living Outside Your Comfort Zone.” I admitted to borrowing the title and main points from Steve May. But I shared the message because it was a good description of our lives in 2007. We lived most of the year outside our comfort zone: new country, new job, new home, new friends, new language, new culture, new experiences and so on. It was an amazing year for our family and while challenging I don’t think we would change it.
In Matthew Chapter 2, Joseph is warned in a dream to take the baby Jesus and flee to Egypt. This was a new country and new adventure for that young family. Yet, in fulfillment of scripture, it was part of God’s plan for shaping the life and character of Jesus. God was preparing them for soemthing. Jesus spent the early years of his life growing up in a foreign country. Then, when they returned to Israel Joseph was warned again to go to Nazareth, for safety. While Mary and Joseph no doubt found themselves outside their comfort zone, God knew what he was doing.
Sometimes God forces us outside our comfort zone:
- to stretch our boundaries. We need to see the world from God’s perspective and know that it is a much bigger place than we ever imagined. Our vision is often too narrow and too self-centered.
- for our protection. God doesn’t move us to harm us but rather to protect us and keep us from harm. We don’t always see that perspective but we have to believe that God’s plan is best for us.
- so we learn to depend on Him. Joseph didn’t know how long they would live in Egypt. He and his family had to trust God for everything while they lived in another country. If this year has taught us anything it is that we have to call on God for our every need. When we live beyond on our own resources we only have one place to turn.
I hope that God moves you out of your comfort zone in 2008. You don’t need to move around the world but it does you good to live out of the ‘zone’ every once and a while. I hope that when things get uncomfortable you will recognize it as God’s work and not fight it. Whenever he moves us out of the comfort zone it means he is preparing us for something.
From our house to yours - may the Lord bless and guide you in 2008 and in his sovereignty move you into greater relationship with him.